Does hot water remove makeup?

With the growing use of waterproof makeup, you might be inclined to think that you hot water will remove the makeup. However, this is further from the truth. Waterproof makeup is resistant to any type of water be it hot, cold, micellar, or Rose. 

Even though you can use water to clean your face after removing makeup, dermatologists advice against using hot water. 

Join me in this guide as I discuss why you shouldn’t use hot water to remove makeup and what you should use instead. 

Why shouldn’t you use hot water to remove makeup

If you have read my previous guide on how to remove concealer, you will notice that I haven’t mentioned use hot water anywhere. Instead, you will see that I mention clean to  your face with warm water after using makeup removers and cleansers. 

So why can’t you use hot water to remove makeup?

  1.  Strips off your face it’s natural oils

Taking a hot shower or washing your face with hot water might feel refreshing at the moment. However, what you don’t know is that you are striping your face it’s natural oil. 

When you strip your face it’s natural oils, your skin end up becoming too weak and you might end up breaking. 

  1.  Causes premature aging

Washing your face with hot water causes your skin to dry up. Over a long period of time, your skin starts to form wrinkles. Since your skin will lack all the moisture required to make your skin remain hydrated, you will notice signs of premature aging. 

  1. Causes skin damage

Hot water tightens your skin to an extent that your skin starts to crack. Over a long time, you will notice some skin damages which might result into painful scars. 

What hot water does to your face is it starts to irritate your face causing some itchiness and redness that might develop into scars. 

Since hot water does not help your skin anyhow, you should avoid using it. 

  1. Waterproof makeup is resistant to water

Waterproof makeup is made by using ingredients that are resistant to any form of water. You might think that hot water will melt the makeup and make it easy to be removed. 

Unfortunately, water lacks the capability to breakdown the chemical composition of ingredients used to make waterproof makeup. 

Water can only work if used in combination of a soap. So, no matter how hot the water is, it will not remove makeup. 

What should you use to remove makeup

Even though you trying to keep your makeup removal at a minimum using water will not do it for you. You can use the following things instead of water. 

  1. Use a gentle makeup remover

Makeup removers are formulated to fight even the most waterproof makeup products. They breakdown the chemical components in makeup making it easy to come off your face. You don’t even have to use any pressure on your face. 

Start by washing your hands before touching your face. Put some small amount of the makeup remover on your hand and apply it on your face the way you would for a moisturizer. 

Let the makeup remover do it’s job by letting it sit on your face for about five minutes. This gives the product ample time to breakdown the makeup for easy removal. 

Use alcohol-free wipes to wipe off the makeup. You can then go ahead with your normal skin care routine. 

  1. Use oil-based products

If for any reason you cannot access a makeup remover, you can use oil-based products to remove makeup from your face. 

You can choose to apply oil by your hands or using a cotton pad. 

If you are using your hands, make sure you wash your hands first to avoid transferring bacteria into your face. 

Put some oil in your hands then apply it on your face and let it sit for about five minutes. The oil will react with chemical components found in the makeup making it loose. 

Rub your face in circular motion gently until you are sure all the makeup is off your face. 

Then go ahead and cleanse you face. 

Alternatively, you can soak a cotton wool in oil and use it to apply it on your face. 

Some of the best oils to use include jojoba, Coconut, Olive, or petroleum jelly. 

  1. Soap and water will work better

If you want to keep your makeup removal to a minimum, you can use water and soap. There is however some catch to doing this. 

  • Do not use hot water on your face. The effects hot water have been discussed above. Instead, use Luke warm water. 
  • Another thing you should not put on your face is bar soap. If you have ever tried putting bar soap on your face, you will realize it burns your face. Bar soap will also dry up your skin. Over a long time of using bar soap, your skin will start cracking. 
  • Use a gentle soap like dove and  exfoliating gloves. Dip the gloves in a basin of Luke warm water, then scrub your face gently until all the makeup is off your face. 
  • Avoid touching your eyes with the soap. So, you can use some oil-based products around your eyes. Ensure you concentrate on the lash areas to remove all the lash glue. 

Ensure you wash your face well to remove all the soap remnant. You can rewash your face as many times until all the makeup is off your face. 

  1. Steam your face

After cleaning your face with soap and water, you can then steam your face to open all your pores. 

Put some boiling water in a basin. Pour mint essential oil in the water and then steam your face with the steam coming from the basin. 

Let the steam hit your face for a few minutes until you feel your face is relaxed. 

  1. Cleanse your face

After steaming your face for a few minutes, the pores will be open enough for any cleanser to penetrate your skin. This will make removing any stubborn waterproof makeup easy. 

Ensure the cleanser you are using is oil based and it’s very gentle. Remember an oil based cleanser is likely to attract the oil in the makeup. Making it easy to come off. 

  1. Let water hit your face for a few minutes

One hack I learnt is letting my face relax. What I do is let water run through my face for a few minutes. 

Simply stand under a shower for over a few minutes and let cold water run over your face. Doing this will allow your skin relax after a long day of wearing makeup. 

Do not attempt to use hot water at this step. Hot water might feel very heavenly at that moment but the side effects might cost you your beautiful face. 

  1. Use a toner

After cleansing and relaxing your face, you should then go ahead and use a toner. A toner will return your skin to it’s natural state ensuring any ingredient that might have found it’s way into your skin is calmed. 

Your face will also benefit from toning as it will also regulate the chemical components in your skin that is responsible for balancing your skin tone. 

  1. Moisturize your face

Once you are sure all makeup is off your skin and that your face is relaxed, apply a nighttime moisturizer on your damp face. Using a moisturizer at night after cleaning your face will replenish your skin making it vibrant, healthy and youthful. 


Although the discussion of whether you can use hot or cold water to remove makeup is not yet settled. One thing I am sure of is that you cannot and you should not use hot water on your face. 

Hot water will strip off your skin all it’s natural oils which in turn makes it extra dry and end up damaging your skin. 

Aside from hot water damaging your skin, it cannot remove any makeup from your face. Most makeup products use ingredients that are waterproof. So, you will be damaging your skin and not even remove the makeup as you expected. 

There are a lot of other alternatives that you can follow to remove makeup off your skin to that are gentle. If you don’t know any of this alternative methods, follow the guide above. All the other methods of makeup removal have been discussed in details. While on that, ensure you subscribe to this page for more beauty hacks. 


  1.  Chen, X., Zhu, Y., & Zhang, Y. (2021). Adversarial learning with collaborative attention for facial makeup removal. Neurocomputing, 434, 249-260.
  2. Sun, Z., Chen, Y., & Xiong, S. (2022, June). Ssat: A symmetric semantic-aware transformer network for makeup transfer and removal. In Proceedings of the AAAI Conference on Artificial Intelligence (Vol. 36, No. 2, pp. 2325-2334).
  3. Mao, J. C., & DeJoseph, L. M. (2012). Latest innovations for tattoo and permanent makeup removal. Facial Plastic Surgery Clinics, 20(2), 125-134

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